Am I the only one who is still working on the same issues that have been concerns and sources of consternation most of my life?
As I read the journals that I have diligently kept over the years, I think it’s sad that I have not conquered the enemies, overcome the obstacles, and smashed through the roadblocks that have plagued and hindered me from being the best that I can be. I seem to be skirting around my great potential. Over the years, I’ve come close to it, and then I’ll just skitter back into the same habits that are not getting me closer to my goal of being as healthy as I could possibly be.
The obstacles are all of my own making. Am I the only one who is ashamed to say out loud what the problem is? I confess that I’m a glutton about food that I like. I admit that I’m addicted to sugar. I’ve overcome so much in my life, but these two—of my own making and through no fault of anyone else—have proved to be a tough match for me.
Given this, am I the only one who finds this time of year the most difficult? To be sure, November, December, and January are anticipated with joy, but realized with dread. The scenario of the upcoming struggle is clear to me: I will tell myself that I will be moderate and temperate in the way I eat, all the while knowing that I tell myself this every year and most of the time fail miserably.
As far back as high school, I’ve struggled with these twin demons. Back then, my best friend, Pat, and I would give up sweets for Lent. Invariably, Pat would tough it out and succeed while I would succumb to my weakness. I can’t count the times that my New Year’s resolutions about food and sweets were dashed before the end of January.
Like my father who told me that he was not addicted to alcohol because he could stop drinking whenever he wanted, I tell myself that I can stop eating too many sweets at any time. And, like my father who proved that time and time again but eventually would return to the alcohol so, too, have I proved able to not eat obvious sweets for several years. During these years, I even checked labels on everything I ate in order to avoid all sugar.
How was I able to do this for several years and other times I’m unable to go without sweets for more than a couple of days? The cessation in my addiction to sugar was prompted by my dear secretary, Linda, who was the most understanding person one could ever meet. But even these saint-like people have their limits.
One afternoon, Linda, with a serious look on her face, said, “I’d like for you to stop the flurry of what you’re doing and sit down. I need to say something to you.” I recall clearly the afternoon that we sat at the small conference table in my office.
I was apprehensive because I didn’t know what was coming. Linda said that she noticed that my behavior changed on the days that I went to the vending machine and bought a Snickers. I asked what she meant about a change in my behavior. She said, “To put it bluntly, you turn into a crazy person, moving fast, talking fast, flitting from one thing to another. You become easily annoyed. You have no patience with me or anyone else who comes into the office on those afternoons that you eat a Snickers bar.”
I was dumbstruck and didn’t know what to say. She went on, saying, “I like working with you and we have a good relationship, but if you continue to eat those Snickers resulting in a sugar high, I won’t continue working with you.” With this ultimatum from Linda, I stopped cold. No Snickers. No sugar at all. The price was too high. I didn’t want to lose her.
One would think that my overall health should be enough for me to make the change I want to make. But it hasn’t proven enough yet. Am I the only one struggling with the same issues of one’s own making year after year?
I find it easier to deal with the problem of gluttony because, at a certain point, my clothes don’t fit. Then I have no alternative but to cut back on food. I refuse to change the size of my clothes in order to accommodate a bad habit.
Sweets are a problem of a higher order. What I want is to be able to continue to eat sweets, but in moderation. Years ago, I met a woman who was in her nineties and looked fantastic! I don’t know what led to the revelation during our conversation, but she had a habit of having a dessert after every evening meal. If dessert was cookies, she would eat only one cookie. I don’t think that I even want to be that constrained, but I would like to not eat the entire box of cookies!
Am I the only one who has self-made demons that continue to plague over the decades?